Qatar has very big plans for next year’s World Cup.
The country built a new city, stadium, and metro station — and expanded its airport — in anticipation of the world’s greatest soccer spectacle. Collective building costs total $300 billion, per Bloomberg.
Hassan Al Thawadi, head of the Qatar’s organizing committee for the event, told Bloomberg that the World Cup can “accelerate a lot of the initiatives the government has already committed to … whether that’s in terms of urban development or economic diversification.”
The potential windfall from hosting the World Cup is alone significant enough to warrant speeding up construction.
“We anticipate the contribution to the economy essentially would be around $20 billion,” Thawadi said.
However, Qatar is also facing the threat of boycotts.
- Some media outlets and fans — including 59% of U.S. fans — say teams should boycott the Qatar due to human rights abuses in the country.
- The 2022 Beijing Olympics have been the target of criticism for the same reason.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice said representatives for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA officials to win their hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 competitions.
Despite the controversy, Qatar is expected to draw as many as 1.5 million visitors for the World Cup. The government announced Sunday only fully vaccinated spectators will be allowed to attend.